Sipping a well-made cocktail is the perfect way to unwind and relax, whether you’ve had a long day at the office or just want to kick back with some friends. Follow our Manly Libations series week-to-week, as we highlight manly cocktails, their histories, and a few bonus recipes — we guarantee these classic drinks will put some hair on your chest.
The History of The Whiskey Smash
The original Whiskey Smash was created by Jerry Thomas in 1862, according to American Drink. The classic drink falls somewhere between a whiskey sour and a mint julep and consists of lemon, mint, simple syrup, and of course, whiskey. Interestingly, Thomas discussed “smashes” in his 1887 cocktail book, How To Mix Drinks, and Gilt MANual notes that the famous bartender labeled the drink as “simply a julep on a small plan.”
Filled with light, refreshing, and bright flavors, a Whiskey Smash is the perfect cocktail for summertime sipping. Albert McMurry describes the drink as “minty and sour and, I don’t know, thirst quenching. It certainly doesn’t contain any of whiskey’s violence.” For a sweeter smash, About.com recommends using Makers Mark or Makers 46, and for those looking for a little spiciness, Old Forester Signature is a great option.
Summer is a time to enjoy great company and delicious drinks. Celebrate the warm-weathered months with a traditional Whiskey Smash, or venture off the beaten path and try a Porky’s Smash or Rye Grin. No matter which variation you make, we guarantee it’ll quickly become your cocktail of choice.
Continue to page two for a traditional Whiskey Smash recipe, in addition to a few manly variations.
The Whiskey Smash
Kicking back with friends on a warm summer night calls for a refreshing drink that highlights whiskey’s versatility. Mint, lemon, simple syrup, bourbon, and ice are all you need to make Bon Appétit’s recipe for The Whiskey Smash. For a little variation, try using gin, vodka, or rum in place of the bourbon.
- 7 fresh mint leaves
- 1 lemon half
- 1 tablespoon simple syrup
- ¼ cup bourbon
- Crushed ice
Directions: Using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, mash 7 fresh mint leaves, 1 lemon half, quartered lengthwise, and 1 tablespoon simple syrup in a 16-ounce mixing glass or a cocktail shaker 4 to 5 times just to release juices and oils. Add ¼ cup bourbon. Transfer to an Old Fashioned glass. Fill halfway with crushed ice, stir, then mound more crushed ice on top. Garnish with mint sprigs.
Looking to add a little spice to your life (and drink)? Try WhistlePig Rye Whiskey’s recipe via About.com for Porky’s Smash, which uses rye whiskey in place of a smooth corn bourbon. Rye, lemon, and mint give this drink bold flavors, while bitters and simple syrup make sure it isn’t too overpowering.
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
- 4 lemon wedges
- 4 to 5 mint leaves
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
- 1 dash each, aromatic and orange bitters
Directions: Muddle the lemon and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and remaining ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint leaves.
John Miller, of The Ranstead Room, explains to Esquire that the Rye Grin is filled with citrus notes, touches of herb, and a spicy heat. It’s the perfect drink for any occasion.
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
- ¼ ounces Fernet Branca (Feel free to use a different amaro.)
- ¾ ounces simple syrup
- ½ of a lemon, cut into quarters
- 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
Directions: Place lemon quarters and mint in a shaker and muddle to release mint oils and juice. Add simple syrup, Fernet, and rye. Shake with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.